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NL March 2020


WCoMC is a collegiate forward looking Modern City Livery Company; we maintain City traditions, share expertise and information between fellow members and give back to the community through our pro bono activities.

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Issue 64:  March 2020


Our Master’s Voice - Change through Wisdom

In the midst of the Coronavirus crisis you may have missed my message last week (21st March). Here’s a quick recap:

It will come as no surprise that, following government guidelines, we are cancelling or postponing all meetings and events until at least the end of May.  We will be reviewing planned summer events over the next few weeks.    However, as resourceful Management Consultants, we will also be looking at the opportunities created by this situation, particularly how we can make use of the extra time that many of us will have to think, write and debate.  We are looking at ideas to keep involved, professionally challenged and in touch.  Watch this space - monthly from now on.

Look after yourselves.


Welcome to issue 64: 

"Will you still need me… when I’m 64?”  So sang McCartney, back in ’67, and your newsletter has now reached issue 64!   I reckon we need it more than ever nowadays.

As you have heard from the Master all our events (along with pretty much everything else in normal life) have been postponed. I’m sure we’ve all had to change the way we’re managing our lives in significant ways.  So in this issue we focus mainly on our recent events (with lots of photos), because there will not be any more of that soon.   We’ll look back to the Members’ Reception, the Wine Tasting, the Pancake Race and even the Charities Supper back in January - when “coronavirus” was just something that was happening in Wuhan.

Business as Usual?

Well yes and no. First, we should be very clear that the Company is operational in the current crisis but we will have to change the way we work and engage with you over the coming weeks and months.

Governance - The Court of Wardens are continuing with their regular conference calls (Ed - no change there) and already use a WhatsApp group to stay in touch.  But we are also looking at technology enabled ways that we can carry on the business of the Company (Court meetings for examples) without meeting face to face (i.e. video conferencing).

Engagement - As far as you, our Members, are concerned we are planning several things to keep us all involved, professionally challenged, and in touch:

First, as the Master said, monthly Company Newsletters, but that means I need content, so please do continue let me have articles and ideas that reflect the full range of the Comany's activities.

Second, we have reactivated the Company LinkedIn page.   We’ve already added some content there and that’s the place to head to for updates, news, discussion, ideas and a spot of light relief from what promises to be a long period of lockdown.  Head there now for links to several articles "Responding To Tough Times" and how to deal with working remotely.  If you are not already on LinkedIn, now would be a good time to hook up.  (Shout if you need help).  Also remember that the Centre For Management Consulting Excellence has a LinkedIn page too. 

Third we’ll look at other channels, including Webinars and (heaven forfend) even Facebook.  More on those later.  

Such new ways of engaging beg the question of content and we would welcome your thoughts on what you would like to see, or contribute to, over the next few months to maintain and enhance our vibrant, engaged Company.   We have some ideas but please let us have your thoughts and ideas by email to or via LinkedIn .

That’s it for a business update… on with the events retrospective.

New Members and Liverymen

We extend a warm welcome to the following new Freemen, who were admitted on 11th March. 

Members Reception

Our annual Members' Reception was held on 11th March: a chance to meet new and prospective Members, and for them to meet us over a glass of wine and canapes.  The evening was hosted by Kanan Barot, the Chair of the Membership Committee.

Kanan introduced a series of short, sharp presentations on our key activities with the focus on impact and brevity.  Everyone stuck to the brief – even PM Patrick Chapman, who surprised even himself with his own succinctness.  An enjoyable evening was had by all.

Wine Cellar Tasting

On 26th February, the Wine Committee (PM and Chair of the Wine Committee Patrick McHugh in particular) organised an evening's tasting of some of the different wines which form part of our Company's Cellar. The wines themselves traced the history of successful wine purchases by the Wine Committee, and demonstrated the enviable reputation our Company has achieved for the wine it serves.  Each wine was offered on a separate “station”, hosted by a member of the Wine Club, who offered expert opinion and guidance.  Each wine was accompanied by a delicious matched canapé. 

The Tasting was well attended and gave us a fabulous opportunity not only to try some of the wines in our cellar but also to show-off to friends and other livery companies.  We hope that this event will be repeated (but I guess that'll now be some way in the future). 

Charities Supper - Photos

Issue 63 contained a full report of the Charities Supper in January and I can now include some photos from that event, courtesy of Mark Fox (husband of our Clerk Julie). Thank you, Mark, for these and indeed for covering all our formal events.  Your efforts are much appreciated.  

Pan-Livery Initiatives

3W Bob Harris reports that he has been attending meetings of the Pan-Livery Steering Group – chaired by past Lord Mayor Sir Charles Bowman and including current Lord Mayor William Russell and other senior livery figures – with a view to designing and launching a new survey of philanthropic giving by livery companies.  However, the focus of the Pan Livery Steering Group has rapidly shifted to how the livery movement can support our communities in responding to the COVID-19 crisis, including participation in initiatives for pan-London support of charities in severe need.  Look out for further announcements.      

Inter-Livery Pancake Race

The Master and others took part in this annual race (and by all accounts did not disgrace herself).  Here’s her report of the event:     

Get to know our backroom people

Building on recent articles about our Chaplain and Assistant Clerk, let's highlight the work done by our many volunteers whose efforts help keep the Company’s “show on the road”.  This time:  Freeman Dr Simon Davey.  

Pro Bono Round Up

The Pro Bono Committee is pleased to report that steps are being taken to re-establish the “Get to Know Pro Bono” newsletter to highlight and celebrate the work we do for charities and other Non-Profit organisations.  This work will continue in the current crisis but methods of engagement will need to change. Watch this space, but for now here’s a link to a quick round up of who’s doing what on the Pro Bono front. 

Charitable Fund - Review

Readers should have seen a January 2020 a ‘press release’ from David Peregrine-Jones, Chair of the Charitable Fund, aimed at making the activities of the Fund more transparent to members.  In the same spirit we can report here that Freeman Geoff Berridge & 2W Steve Cant (Ed - me!) have been requested by the Trustees of the Charitable Fund to take a fresh look at the way the Fund operates.  Geoff and Steve have started a formal review, although it is going to be tricky to complete in these days of social distancing.  

Next Time: End April 2020

Fewer photos from no events, but looking ahead and updates from CMCE, updates on Strategy and Communications and, I expect, how we're all coping with the recently imposed lock down. 

And finally …. 

We all love a decision tree, don't we?   I think this one is highly apposite: 

#SocialDistancing : It’s not about you. 

Thank you for reading this far, and stay safe.

Steve Cant


This newsletter is produced by the WCoMC Communications Group. Please let us know if you have any items to include in relation to any topics that come to mind! The opinions expressed in this newsletter represent those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the Company.
​WCoMC is a Chartered Charitable Organisation (Privy Council Reference C877) and a Company Incorporated by Royal Charter (Company No. RC000819).